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Keirstin Johnsen and Hennepin Shine in Jockey Club Thoroughbred Incentive Program at Old Salem Farm Spring Welcome Day

by Jennifer Wood Media | May 4, 2015, 3:18 PM EST

Keirstin Johnsen and Hennepin (Photo by Sarah Latterner)
Keirstin Johnsen and Hennepin (Photo by Sarah Latterner)
North Salem, N.Y. – Old Salem Farm kicked off their Spring Horse Shows with Welcome Day on Sunday, May 3. Highlighting the schedule was The Jockey Club Thoroughbred Incentive Program (T.I.P.) $2,000 Low Thoroughbred Hunter Division and a full day of hunter, jumper and equitation competition. Welcome Day is a great start to the Spring Horse Shows, which run May 5-10 and May 12-17 featuring a full schedule of top competition.

The T.I.P. division, held at three-feet, consisted of two over fences classes and one under saddle for Jockey-Club registered Thoroughbreds. Keirstin Johnsen and seven-year old Thoroughbred Hennepin, owned by Shelly Ferrall, were first and second over fences before placing third under saddle and clinching the high-point title.

T.I.P. classes are offered at the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows thanks to the support of Vivien G. Malloy. Malloy owns Edition Farm, a Thoroughbred breeding facility in Dutchess County, NY. She presents the division in honor of her daughter, Debby Malloy Winkler, who showed at Old Salem Farm as a junior and passed away following a tragic fall from a horse at her home in Germany in 2011.

In addition to division honors, The Jockey Club sponsored the High Point Thoroughbred awards and the second-annual presentation of the Debby Malloy Winkler Memorial Trophy. Keirstin Johnsen's name will be inscribed on the trophy, and it will remain at Old Salem Farm with winners added each year.

Hennepin, or “Louie” as he's called around the barn, raced four times at the track, and finished last each time before finding his calling in the hunter ring at the hands of Ferrall. “I grew up riding Thoroughbreds and after 15 years out of the saddle, I knew I wanted to find a horse that was already here rather than importing,” said Ferrall who brought Hennepin to her barn as a four-year old under his racing name, Monroe's Music. “I saw Louie's picture and video online and thought, 'Let's just get him.'”

Not an easy ride, according to Johnsen, Ferrall always saw potential in her bay gelding. “I handed the reins to Keirstin and eventually we started having more good days than bad,” she said. “The first time we brought him to a horse show we were all a ball of nerves, but he acted like he'd been to 50 of them.”
Photo by Lindsay Brock/Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Johnsen characterizes Hennepin's rise to the show ring as a huge transformation. “Shelly definitely saved this horse, and I'm not sure many people could have made him into what he is today. Thoroughbreds are a different king of challenge, but it feels good to do something like this with a horse that has come so far. He wasn't made up and done; everyone put a lot of time into him.”

The T.I.P. was a goal that Johnsen and Ferrall set for Hennepin during their winter training, and the team came full circle winning the division title. “I didn't know if he'd be a hunter, an eventer or want to cut cows,” said Ferrall. “But, I let him decide and here we are. So many of these horses are left without a job. They can't all win at the track, so this program does a great job bringing them to the show ring.

Caitlin Malloy Brennan, granddaughter of Vivien Malloy, presented the Debby Malloy Winkler Memorial Trophy and High Point Thoroughbred Award to Johnsen. She admits that finding Thoroughbreds second careers has been the charge of her family for many years.

“It's so nice to see horses who had careers already, come back and find themselves in the hunter ring,” she said. “A lot of them get lost in the shuffle and it's encouraging that so many people still love the breed. Many of my grandmother's horses went to Germany to be repurposed by my aunt Debbie, and they all found new careers. This award is in memory of her hard work and dedication, and we hope it keeps her spirit alive through these Thoroughbreds.”

In addition to the T.I.P. competition, Welcome Day crowned winners in hunter, jumper and equitation competition to kick of the 2015 season at Old Salem Farm. The Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows continue on Wednesday with two-weeks each boasting over 130 hunter and jumper classes and over $500,000 in prize money, bringing together top competitors from all corners of North America and beyond.

The Week 1 schedule will include the $35,000 New York Welcome Stake, presented by Old Salem Farm, on Friday, May 8, as well as the $15,000 Old Salem Farm Speed Derby, presented by Miller Motorcars, on Saturday, May 9, and the $50,000 Old Salem Farm Grand Prix, presented by The Kincade Group, on Sunday, May 10.

Week 2 will feature the $35,000 Grand Prix of North Salem, presented by Karina Brez Jewelry, on Friday, May 15, the $20,000 Speed Derby of North Salem, presented by Miller Motorcars, on Saturday, May 16, and the $100,000 Empire State Grand Prix, presented by The Kincade Group, on Sunday, May 17. Open jumper riders will be competing for the $20,000 Leading Jumper Rider Challenge. Junior and amateur jumpers will also enjoy a $15,000 Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, presented by Miller Motorcars, each Sunday.

In addition to a full schedule of USEF “Premier” rated hunter competition, a $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, presented by The Gochman Family, will be featured on Saturday, May 16. The Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Show is also proud to continue honoring hunter riders with the presentation of a $5,000 Leading Hunter Rider Award, presented by Old Salem Farm, for the rider that earns the most points in hunter divisions throughout the two weeks of competition.

To purchase tickets for The Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows, CLICK HERE. Or, watch live streaming of all events Friday-Sunday at www.oldsalemfarm.net.

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Old Salem Farm, located just one hour north of New York City, is one of the best equestrian competition venues in North America, as rated by the North American Riders Group in 2011-2014. Host of the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows, the prestigious American Gold Cup CSI-W 4*, and year-round competitions, the facility offers a state-of-the-art turf grand prix field, indoor riding arena, and two all-weather footing rings. As a boarding and training facility, Old Salem Farm is second to none and home to top trainer Frank Madden. For more information, please visit www.oldsalemfarm.net or call 914-669-5610.